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Truck Accidents in PA - Are Trucking Companies Liable for Negligence of Truck Driver Employees?

Under Pennsylvania law, trucking companies can be held liable when a truck driver’s negligence leads to an auto accident. This is known as the principle of vicarious liability, which holds an employer liable for the acts of an agent or employee. So long as the employee was engaging in the course and scope of his employment, the employer is held liable.

Example – Truck Driver Veers into Adjacent Lane, Strikes Car on Highway in Pennsylvania

A truck driver for a major transportation company is delivering cargo from one state to another. While traveling through Pennsylvania, the truck driver isn’t paying attention and veers into an adjacent lane, striking another and much smaller vehicle. The impact causes a serious accident with multiple injuries to the driver and passenger of the smaller car. Do the driver and passenger of the smaller car have a valid claim against the transportation company for their injuries and damages?

Truck Accident Case Result: $1,000,000 settlement - Dump truck crossed center line

The answer is probably yes. So long as the truck driver was “on the clock” at the time of the accident, the transportation company would be liable for the accident.

The Role of Insurance

The transportation company would have a commercial auto insurance policy which would apply in this instance. That policy would cover the truck driver-employee’s negligence, just like any other auto insurance policy. This means that claims for financial compensation may be made with the insurance company, i.e., the driver and passenger in the example above would be able to make insurance claims with the transportation company’s insurance company.


It’s important to note that the injured driver and passenger in this example would make PIP (Personal Injury Protection) claims, or claims for medical benefits, with their respective auto insurance companies. This is how Pennsylvania’s no-fault law works—if you’re injured in an auto accident, you make claims for PIP coverage under your own insurance policy. This applies regardless of fault. It does not matter who caused the accident. Put simply, if you’re injured in an auto accident, you make a claim for PIP benefits under your own auto insurance policy, up to the amount purchased. Pennsylvania requires a minimum of $5,000 in PIP benefits.

More: Philadelphia PA Highways Rear-End Accident Injury Lawyer

Claims for Damages

Drivers and passengers who are injured in truck accidents in Pennsylvania are entitled to make claims for financial compensation. Common claims include:

  • medical bills in excess of PIP,
  • lost wages, and
  • pain and suffering.

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